Article shows that jury service generates positive attitudes toward the courts

A piece came out recently that shows how jury service can boost the public’s attitudes toward judges and juries. The article is: Gastil, J., Fukurai, H., Anderson, K., & Nolan, M. (2013). Seeing is believing: The impact of jury service on attitudes toward legal institutions and the implications for international jury reform. Court Review, 48, 125-130.

Here’s the abstract:

Improving our understanding of the jury’s impact is vital, as many nations may choose to adopt or reject the jury based partly on beliefs about how jury service shapes the civic beliefs and actions of citizen-jurors. Based on a review of previous research on juries, we hypothesized that jury service promotes public support for the larger legal process. These hypotheses were tested using a longitudinal survey of jurors from a large county in the western U.S. Results showed persistent, long-term attitude change flowing from juror service. Jurors were more confident in the jury system, perceived the criminal jury to be fairer, and indicated a greater confidence in state and local court judges than did those who had not served on juries. Moreover, effect size analysis showed that a few days of jury service can produce attitude changes comparable in effect size to those yielded by a full-throttle national Presidential campaign. These findings have tremendous significance for nations like Japan, South Korea, and Mexico, which are considering implementing juries. Our findings suggest that the reforms they implement could bolster public faith and confidence in the legal system itself.

About jgastil

John Gastil is Head and Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, where he specializes in political deliberation and group decision making.
This entry was posted in Juries around the world, Social/political impact of juries. Bookmark the permalink.

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